sneak peek: cassandra ellis


we were so pleased to hear from cassandra ellis whose home was featured in the april 2008 issue of new zealand house and garden. it’s so rare that we get to see – let alone share – homes from down under, it’s a real treat. awhile back cassandra moved back to new zealand from the UK to be closer to her family in hard times. she found this place and it felt at home, and ultimately it had an uplifting spirit that rubbed off on everyone.  she renovated every room – making every curtain and cushion, painting every wall and ceiling – not to mention designing and creating an edible garden. needless to say, it was a labor of love.  after living there seven years cassandra left last year after (luckily) meeting the man of her dreams (an englishman on holiday in nz) who saw her across the road. the sweetest part is that the reason her home was shot and featured in the magazine was the love story behind it, and today we’re thrilled to share it with you. click here for the full story, here for additional images, and here for more of cassandra’s work as a creative director and trend analyst. {thanks, cassandra!}anne

[photos by matthew williams]

[above: Overall the house was painted in a soft grey white – a flat sheen with lots of pigment, so that rooms changed colour depending on the sun. I used lots of grey, white, green and amethyst throughout, with touches of pink to liven it up. Lots of velvet and hemp with english florals and NZ art. The furniture is a mixture of 18th, 19th and mid 20th century. Wooden Matai floorboards from an old brick factory and chocolate carpet to tie it all together. Feminine I guess but a little sparse also, to stop it being overwhelming. Lots of trunks to store the thousands of books and magazines I have and a lot of vases and mercury glass. Spare room – we like to call it my mums room. The bed is from the 30’s. the bamboo table Victorian and you guessed it, I made all the soft furnishings]

CLICK HERE for the rest of Cassandra’s sneak peek after the jump!

A Victorian NZ kauri table ( midst renovation) and my favourite Chaise – one of the first furniture pieces made in NZ. A 1950’s mirror and a couple of my many, many vases.

the living room. This shot they redid for the cover with Lily instead of me….. I tried not to think about what that meant! Nothing like a dog on the cover to sell copies!

My office – possibly my favourite place. I had the desk made from limed oak – it just sits on a pair of trestles. The magazine rack is actually an old bakers rack from Paris, and the trunks are presents from my mum.

My dining table is made from recycled matai railway sleepers and the armoire is French and came  came from London with me. The pair of 1930’s club chairs were found in a state of dis-repair by my mum. I had them restored and recovered in amethyst velvet. The one on the right got the late afternoon sun, so this is where I read. The dining chairs are a mix of original Arne’s ( Picked up for £10 each in London) and some old farm chairs from my sister. 1920’s fashion illustrations complete the picture.

the deck – . The house in on a tiny mews street, with similar houses dotted around. The high fence is because my little dog Lily is a Houdini – if I wasn”t there, then why should she be!.

My bedroom. It opens out onto a balcony overlooking the sea, which is lovely. I made the curtains in a lovely amethyst velvet.

My sisters saddle and a Tord Boontje light on the landing. My nieces like to pretend they’re on a horse!

A great kitchen because it faced the dining table but they couldn’t see my mess! Although a chandelier isn’t the most practical lighting for a kitchen it was a lovely thing to have. Cake stand is one of many!

This corner of the living room opens out onto the deck and gravel garden. The gold table was a dump find which I gilded and the photo above it is one I took whilst travelling through Morocco from the roof of a truck. The antique trunk was a birthday present from my mother and the gardening trug was handmade by a local artisan.

A close up of my desk. The first hat I ever made  (aged 12), a pool hall score board and images that make me smile.

The spare bathroom – simple, but effective.

  1. Very cosy and warm home. I like it!

  2. Renae says:

    The pictures of this home have a very peaceful, calming feeling. Very pretty.

  3. Laura says:

    I love Cassandra’s office – the old bakers rack, the trunks… it looks so warm and welcoming. Lovely!

  4. Shanon says:

    What a gorgeous place. I could move in immediately and feel right at home. A job well done.

  5. Z says:

    What an authentic and beautiful home!

  6. 小明猪 says:

    this house is so beautiful! make me calmness.

  7. Beautiful home! I love the entire space.

  8. Green Key says:

    the sneak peek links are not working today . . .

    1. grace says:

      which links? i’ll check them out…


  9. Sarah says:

    Grace — the links to come here from the RSS feed don’t work (the ones that say “CLICK HERE for the rest”).

    Utterly beautiful home — I love the little pops of bright blue and pink.

    1. grace says:


      so sorry about that- i just fixed the typo- the new rss layout involves a lot of cutting and pasting and i made a stupid typing mistake.

      so sorry for the trouble- will keep a better eye out for that in tomorrow’s posts :)


  10. heather says:

    This house looks so cozy, I love it.

    That looks like an old Whippy saddle on the landing. I have one of those that was my mothers when she used to ride. It’s too old to put on my horse, so it sits on the back of a couch in my studio. I love the look of it on the landing. If only I had stairs!

  11. Abha says:

    This place just takes my breath away…

  12. Norine says:

    something about purple velvet just gets me. And New Zealand. Lovely home.

  13. Cassandra says:

    Hi Heather
    The saddle is over 40 years old. My sister used to ride a mad old pony over the dunes when she was a kid. The saddle gave up – so she went bareback and I got the saddle. The removal men gave me a very strange look when they packed it!

  14. jamie says:

    Gorgeous! I love all the vintage touches!

  15. Joejeep says:

    Very nice house but Cassandra is cuter in my opinion..


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